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How much time do you spend sitting during the day? A matter of minutes, hours, or even the entire work day? Sitting for prolonged periods of time has been proven to physically age the body and lead to a handful of disorders and diseases. Introducing ergonomics to the way you sit, type, read, and work during the day could improve your health and even your lifespan.

What are Ergonomics?

'Ergonomics' is an applied science that is concerned with designing and engineering objects that increase efficiency and safety for the individuals that use them. The main concerns of ergonomics revolve around five principles:

  1. Safety
  2. Comfort
  3. Ease of Use
  4. Productivity and performance
  5. Aesthetics

7 Ergonomics in the Workplace that Improve Your Health

Applying office ergonomics to your workday can help you avoid fatigue, decrease discomfort, and guard against the development of musculoskeletal disorders long term. Here are a few ergonomic tips and products that can help you stay pain-free:

1. Adjust the height of your office chair.

The height of your chair should be positioned for your elbows to sit at a 90 degree angle and your knees to sit at a 90 degree angle. Your feet should rest flat on the floor without your legs dangling or extended in front of you.

2. Relax your wrists.

Avoid tight elbow angles, avoid bending your wrist upwards, and avoid extra pressure on your elbows and wrists. The wrists should feel relaxed when typing. Using a fitted wrist brace can prevent awkward angles while typing.

3. Use a desktop not a laptop.

Laptop screens sit too low to be ergonomically friendly. Your posture can be thrown off when your head and neck have to extend out to properly see the screen. Use a desktop screen when you are working for hours at a time.

4. Use a backrest.

Some backrests are designed to shape comfortably to the natural curvature of the spine. Using a back rest in an office chair can improve posture and hinder the development of sore, twitching muscles or widespread back pain. Try the Perfectback Rest or a similar device.

5. Support your arms.

Avoid pressure on the elbow and wrist. Your arms can begin to feel fatigued after hours of hovering over a keyboard. Invest in a cushion that you can rest your forearms on, often referred to as a "wrist rest".

6. Place your monitor an arm's length away.

Your eyes become strained and sore after staring at a computer screen for too long. The desktop screen should be one full arm's length away to ensure your eyes are not irritated. The muscles around the eyes can begin spasming if they stare at a screen for too long. Take breaks to allow your eyes to recover.

7. Sit on a cushion.

Sitting on an anti-pressure cushion can equalize pressure across the seating area and level the hips to alleviate discomfort on the lower back. A cushion like the Air Wave Cushion that can contour to your buttocks and upper leg is best suited for optimal comfort.

Changing the way we treat our body at work can change our health long-term. The body should feel comfortable and properly positioned throughout the day to protect the spinal alignment, the joints, the muscles, and the body's natural shape. Are you protecting your body from musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace? It could be time to start.

Sources:

  1. Ergonomics Info. Examples of Ergonomics. Retrieved from http://www.ergonomics-info.com/examples-of-ergonomics.html
  2. Middlesworth, Matt. The Definition and Causes of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). Ergonomics Plus. Retrieved from http://ergo-plus.com/musculoskeletal-disorders-msd/
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